I’ve been doing a lot of reading over this holiday season — finally finishing the excellent Skippy Dies, and halfway through the very long but glorious Ten Years in the Tub by Nick Hornby. Skippy Dies was really quite good — likable, heartbreaking — but I often struggle with books where I can see myself hurtling towards a horrific moment. In Skippy’s case, that moment comes about 50 pages into the books (hardly a spoiler, considering the title), but then time rewinds and the months leading up to his death are replayed. It’s hard to remember what it was like being a teenager, but my high school years were horrid. My junior year was so bad that I blocked huge portions of it out: I was a mess, and a jerk with it. And Skippy Dies hit that jerky mess perfectly, because I wasn’t a bad kid and neither are these. They’re sweet kids, mostly, who will grow up to be fine adults, and it’s just being a teenager.
Also fine writing. I enjoyed this biting swipe at a particularly unlikeable adult:
‘What is it they’re playing again, Father?’
‘Pachelbel’s Canon in D,’ Father Laughton says, adding, after a moment of internal debate, ‘You might recognize it from the current advertisement for the Citroën Osprey.’
The Automator nods. ‘Quality,’ he comments, settling back in his chair.
Nick Hornby’s Ten Years in the Tub is a great palette cleanser, because I like reading about books almost as much as I like reading them and I have a soft spot in my heart for the Believer ANYHOW so it’s perfect. I’m so glad I wasn’t hit with one of the other depressing books currently in my stack. I’ve chomped it down, more than halfway in two days (ok, look, I’ve been working and it’s 500 pages so that’s an achievement) and I’ll be so sad to leave the cozy world of books on books and back into, you know, just books.
Oh and also I read The Latke Who Couldn’t Stop Screaming (a Holiday Story) by Lemony Snicket; my brother wisely deduced that this book was not for the nephew but it cheered me up immensely; the Latke feels lonely and out of place in a sleepy village filled with Christmas decorations — each of whom infuriates him so much he ran away screaming, until he finally finds peace with a Jewish family. Peace, pieces, whatever.
Anyhow, November and December were horrid and 2015 was the pits for so many reasons but now it’s going to be January, going to be a fresh year, fresh moments, fresh tries. So, see you in my inevitable New Year’s earnest post. Mwah.